Behind the Shield – October 2017

Security Technology for Today—and Tomorrow

At last month’s ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits in Dallas, technology dominated the showroom floor. Vendors showcased robots and drones, along with the ubiquitous access-control and surveillance systems. In the real world, however, even sophisticated organizations are waiting before taking the technological plunge.

This article highlights emerging technologies, as well as familiar systems that are doing more than ever—often for less money.

New Technologies

These advancements are emerging from science fiction novels and films into 21st century reality.

  • Robots. Several companies featured security robots as an alternative to human patrol officers. While these mechanical sentries offer cost savings and other Image from New Technologies in the Security Industry Newsletter from Sunstatesbenefits, such as the ability to capture video, they’re not likely to replace security personnel entirely. Robots may gradually find their way into corporate security forces, but they’ll ultimately report their findings to skilled humans. Still, continuing advancements in robotics will spark interesting debates in the coming years.

  • Drones. These unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are generating a lot of interest as the technology improves. While future restrictions inevitably will govern where, how and when these devices can fly, UAVs add a new dimension to surveillance, especially when conducting vulnerability assessments. Drones allow security teams to not only focus on their facilities, but also on potential threats beyond the site perimeter. Some companies are marketing drones that capture other drones, highlighting some of the privacy concerns created by these vehicles.

  • Facial Recognition. This technology recently went mainstream with the announcement of iPhone X. Apple’s $1,000+ smartphone will replace the familiar fingerprint reader with facial recognition, which is reportedly 20x more secure. Already, the technology is changing the security game. Last month, Chinese police used cameras equipped with automated facial recognition (AFR) software to arrest 25 wanted criminals at a beer festival, including one who had eluded authorities for a decade.

Improved Technologies

While not as exciting as the previous advances, the following technology improvements are transforming security in more subtle ways.

  • Investigative tools. Online proliferation of public data has enhanced investigations in recent years, while creating its own challenges. Consulting multiple sources for information consumes time, as does sifting through the results for relevance. New technologies are making it easier both to collect data in a single source and to narrow results for human analysis. Some of these tools remain prohibitively expensive for smaller organizations, but prices will fall as the technology evolves.

  • Access control. Today’s access-control systems offer increased security and efficiency, in addition to improving the user experience. Electronic systems can integrate with other and personnel management security systems. Plus, a missing access card can be quickly deactivated and replaced. New access-control technologies are amplifying these benefits, replacing cards with smartphones, mobile devices and biometrics.

  • Audio/visual recording. High-definition cameras, digital recorders and cloud computing have made it easier, and more affordable, than ever for businesses to upgrade their security systems. Many clients are replacing decade-old closed-circuit televisions with state-of-the-art systems that allow remote monitoring.

To discuss how these technologies can help your security program, call Sunstates Security at 866-710-2019 or email us.

 How Technology is Transforming the Security Industry

Technology continues to evolve at dizzying speed, but don’t expect drones and robots to replace security personnel any time soon. Some of these new technologies, while exciting, remain impractical. Between 2008 and 2010, many security departments were cut to reduce costs, and their budgets were never restored. Consequently, most security directors have neither the resources nor the desire to overhaul their departments with the latest technological innovations.

That said, many companies are supplementing their existing security programs with technology. More clients ask us to find ways to provide smarter security by pairing technology with personnel. In many cases, the result is a reduction in manned hours and an increase in the skills required by the remaining team.Sometimes the analysis identifies situations where a human touch is preferred. Tenants and clients often appreciate having a friendly security officer open the door and watch over them after hours. Technology excels at providing coverage, not comfort.

An Not an Either-Or Scenario

Security rarely comes down to choosing technology over personnel, or vice versa. At Sunstates we continually evaluate new tools to help us better protect clients, and we adapt our offerings accordingly.

As a result, our organization is unrecognizable from a technological perspective, compared to 10 years ago. Many of our officers use smartphones in their daily duties: performing patrols, scanning checkpoints, recording shift details, and reporting incidents. Our paperless hiring process ensures that prospective employees have the necessary computer skills to succeed at Sunstates, from completing training modules in our Learning Management System to using the modern tools of the trade.

By embracing technology and encouraging employees to do the same, we’ve empowered our personnel and created new opportunities for them. Our employees can confirm their schedules and their paychecks online, download benefits documentation, and complete professional development courses. We’ve seen a marked improvement in the capabilities of our security officers in the past decade—a trend that benefits employees and clients.

An Effective Partnership

A New Jersey client reported missing bronze bearings to the on-duty security supervisor. The client provided a description of the missing items, their location, and a suspected time frame for the theft. The supervisor reviewed security footage for the relevant period and immediately identified the responsible individual, who was subsequently terminated. Per policy, the officer searched the employee’s car before his departure and discovered a scrap yard receipt, which was dated several weeks earlier than the discovered theft.

Over the next several days, the supervisor reviewed six weeks of security footage and uncovered 12 additional thefts of bronze metals. He identified the items taken during each incident, exact time and date of each loss, and the thief’s methodology. He also interviewed client employees regarding accountability of materials and procedures for using, and accounting for, items.

This effective combination of security technology and skilled personnel helped the client recover more than $30,000 in stolen materials, while providing valuable recommendations for preventing future thefts and loss.

Like so many other industries, technology is transforming security not by replacing personnel with cameras or robots, but by helping humans to work more efficiently and effectively.

For information on how Sunstates Security can help your organization support security with technology, call 866-710-2019 or email us.